Tag: humanitarian response

On World Food Day, 5 reasons why cash transfers aren’t always the best option

Since the Asian Tsunami of 2004, providing cash to people in an emergency has become increasingly mainstream. But (babies, bath water) there is more to food response than ‘just give them the money.’ On World Food Day, Oxfam Social Protection Adviser Larissa Pelham sets out the case: The King asked The Queen, and The Queen […]

Read More »

Ebola: How a People’s Science Helped End an Epidemic

Guest book review from Anita Makri, an editor and writer going freelance after 5+ years with SciDev.Net. (@anita_makri) I’m sure that to readers of this blog the Ebola epidemic that devastated West Africa a couple of years ago needs no introduction (just in case, here’s a nice summary by the Guardian’s health editor). So I’ll […]

Read More »

Parts of the aid system just don’t work – the dismal cycle of humanitarian response

Every now and then an email stops me in my tracks, reminding me that Oxfam is stuffed full of bright, motivated, altruistic people. Here’s one I got a few weeks ago from Debbie Hillier, one of our Humanitarian Policy Advisers, in response to my request for thoughts on the state of the aid business. Her […]

Read More »

After the Summit: What next for humanitarianism?

Here’s this week’s vlog – still trying to sort out a better camera and sound, sorry! Spent a fascinating morning recently, discussing the state of humanitarian response with a bunch of fairly senior people from inside ‘the system’ – UN, donors, INGOs etc. It was Chatham House Rule, so that’s as much as I can […]

Read More »

What should we expect from next year’s World Humanitarian Summit?

Thought all the big development-related summits were scheduled for 2015? Think again. Ed Cairns, Oxfam’s senior policy adviser on humanitarian advocacy, introduces its new report/shot across the bows of the World Humanitarian Summit, 2016. Humanitarians tend to be practical people, and so when they learn lessons it’s usually from what has failed or succeeded in real […]

Read More »

1/4 of the world’s people already subject to large annual wealth tax to tackle poverty. Has anyone told Piketty?

A few years ago, I sat next to a young muslim guy from Birmingham on a plane, and he told me how frustrated he was with the way his community’s annual act of alms-giving, known as Zakat, was managed – no accountability, no real checks on where it goes or what it achieves. I’ve wondered […]

Read More »

Learning the Lessons: Why is change NOT happening in the response to hunger crises?

I know I go on all the time about ‘how change happens’, but often in development the important question is ‘why doesn’t change happen?’, and we need to get better at answering it. On Tuesday Oxfam published Learning the Lessons, an analysis of the response to the 2012 Sahel food crisis, which affected some 18m […]

Read More »

Big Decisions today on Food Crisis in the Sahel: here’s the background

A high level collection of EC and member states officials, UN big cheeses and West African leaders are meeting in Brussels today to discuss the unfolding crisis in the Sahel, where a disaster is looming. Some communities already find themselves in crisis, others see disaster on the horizon as an early lean season approaches and the […]

Read More »

Responding to emergencies: is the centre of gravity shifting away from the UN towards national goverments?

Ed Cairns, Oxfam’s Senior Policy Adviser on this kind of thing, explores the shifting sands of humanitarian aid policy After a flurry of reviews and new policies on all aspects of aid, the UK put out its new humanitarian policy, Saving Lives, Preventing Suffering and Building Resilience, a couple of weeks ago. Not every word is […]

Read More »

The future of emergency response – the international system v national governments

Yesterday the big cheeses moved on to fragile states and humanitarian (emergency) response. I may write something on fragile states next week, but it was the humanitarian bit that got my attention. Here are some highlights from the internal discussion paper: “There is growing awareness that global humanitarian response needs to be turned on its […]

Read More »

Natural disasters will hurt 50% more people by 2015. Why? Climate Change + Inequality

There has been some striking progress in reducing the death toll from natural disasters in recent decades. While Cyclone Sidr killed around 3,000 people in Bangladesh in 2007, similar or weaker storms killed 100 times that number in 1972 and 45 times more people in 1991, largely because governments and local communities have since taken […]

Read More »